Saturday, September 30, 2023

From the sex of anchovies to the taste of rocks

This morning (in Spanish peninsular time) the Ig Nobel Prize a parody of the real Nobel Prizes that are annually awarded to the craziest investigation of the time. Unlike real Nobel Prize winners, there are no established categories, because it can vary, depending on the investigations that are considered worthy. This time the combination of geology and chemistry, literature, mechanical engineering, public health, communication, medicine, nutrition, psychology, education and physics has been awarded. And one thing that is interesting is that the real winners of the Nobel Prize will oppose us Spaniards, but it seems that we will win the Ig Nobel Prize.

Two of the investigations They have a Spanish researcher. One of them, in fact, was made especially from our country. But, leaving that aside, all the award-winning research is fun, but also interesting.

Regarding the prize, it is not a large financial amount, like the Nobel, but 10 trillion dollars in Zimbabwe. It seems very exciting, but the exchange rate is about 30 euro cents. And at Ig Nobel it’s all humor and fun. However, be careful, because some of their research may have useful applications.

The Ig Nobels in 2023

This 2023, Ig Nobels are awarded to all types of research, in different categories.

Geology and Chemistry

In this category, the Ig Nobel went to a group of scientists from Poland and the United Kingdom for investigating why some scientists like it lick the rocks. It is well known that this is a practice that geologists sometimes do. But why?

In fact, this study is more of a historical review than an investigation itself. But explain, in real cases, why it took so long, especially fossils. Basically, this is because “the wetness of the surface allows fossil and mineral textures to stand out, instead of being lost in the blur of microreflections and microrefractions that come from a dry surface.” Therefore, a little flick of the tongue can release what was previously hidden.


How does it feel when we repeat the same word many, many, many times? A group of scientists from France, United Kingdom, Malaysia and Finland studied it. It is interesting, because by having the participants copy and repeat the same word several times, they were able to reproduce the phenomenon of Never seen. It is exactly the opposite of Déjà Vu, because it consists in making something we know known as if we did not know it. When these people repeated the word, it suddenly seemed strange and strange to them.

Mechanical Engineering

Researchers at India, China, Malaysia and the United States won this Ig Nobel for copying the an arachnophobe’s dream. And they have RAISED dead spiders to use as tools. Be careful with the italics on the verb resurrection. They didn’t wake them up, but they squeezed their lost capacity to act and used it for their own benefit.

Public health

This Ig Nobel went to researchers from South Korea and the United States because, we quote the word, “quickly control and analyze the substances released by humans“. This is a very good way of saying that they have created a toilet that analyzes what is deposited in it, looking for diseases, such as COVID.19 or anything else that can be found in the feces and urine.

Ig Nobel


There are people who are experts in talk back. Some types of applications require insurance. But what did these scientists do? Argentina, Spain, Colombia, Chile, China and the United States is to study their mental activity, to find out what gives them this super linguistic capacity.


The Ig Nobel for medicine was won by a group of scientists from United States, Canada, Macedonia, Iran and Vietnam to study the dead bodies if there is the equal number of hairs in both nostrils to a person. This, even if it seems like a joke, has an explanation, and it is seen that people with alopecia areata are likely to develop more allergies, due to the loss of protective hair on the nose. Therefore, it is a part of the body that we cannot neglect.


The others Japanese researchers discovered that some electrified chopsticks As drinking straws they can add flavor to drinks and food. They even add different flavors that are known.


This Ig Nobel went to the hands of a group of scientists from China, Canada, United Kingdom, Netherlands, Ireland, United States and Japan for studying the effects of expect boredom. Said a lot more or less, if before a university class or a conference we already think it’s boring, it doesn’t matter how fun the teacher or professor makes it. It will probably annoy us to death.

If We Are Predisposed To Boredom, The Conference Can Be Boring. Credit: Product School (Unsplash)


People are perfect prone to imitation. Even without realizing it. For this reason, some psychologists deer They conducted a unique experiment to check how many people stopped on the road to see if someone else was passing by. They won the Ig Nobel for psychology.


Finally, some researchers from Spain, Switzerland, France and United Kingdom They won the Ig Nobel in physics for analyzing how ocean currents influence the sexual activity of anchovies. And when these fish start working, they can make big changes in their environment.

Ig Nobels can also be useful

Some researchers consider it a disservice to award an Ig Nobel. In fact, in 1995, the former scientific advisor to the Government of the United Kingdom, Robert Mayo strongly requested that this award not be given to British researchers.

But it must be recognized that, more than parody, these awards serve to publicize research that can be very useful. For example, in 2006, the Ig Nobel Prize in Biology It was won by scientists who discovered that one of the malaria-carrying mosquitoes was attracted to a specific type of cheese: Limburger. Very funny and entertaining, but since then this cheese has been put on some African countries in strategic places to keep mosquitoes away from people. Thanks to that, along with other measures, the malaria epidemic.

Therefore, the Ig Nobels may not have the prestige of their Swedish cousins, but they can also bring great joy. To those who win them, if they have a sense of humor, and to the whole world, if they do not let the joke of the investigation.

Nation World News Desk
Nation World News Desk
Nation World News is the fastest emerging news website covering all the latest news, world’s top stories, science news entertainment sports cricket’s latest discoveries, new technology gadgets, politics news, and more.
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